Arts Craft Arts

New Exhibition at The Gallery at Plays in Mud Pottery

Odessa Iris in Green. Kelsey Schissel, artist

The Gallery at Plays in Mud Pottery presents The Best of Both Worlds, Big and Small, an exhibition of work by Tori Motyl and Kelsey Schissel, beginning with an opening reception on Saturday, September 2, from 4–7 p.m., and running through September 30. The exhibit contrasts Motyl’s latest large-scale pieces with Schissel’s new small-scale work.

“For the same reason my small pieces draw viewers in, Tori’s large pieces do the same, providing a moment of inquisitiveness,” says Schissel. “This moment allows viewers to be still in their minds and take it all in.”

All-weather garden vessels. Tori Motyl, artist

Schissel’s body of work ranges in size from one-and-a-half inches to just under six inches. The shapes of the vessels are inspired by flower petals, leaves and stamens. Her inspiration stems from childhood memories of playing outdoors.

“Flowers are small, and when I was a small human I would pull apart wild violets to find the princess inside; then my imagination would take off,” says Schissel.

She considers this work an evolution of sorts, transitioning from functional craft to fine art, with opalescent surfaces and 22-karat gold details elevating the pieces into the realm of semi-precious jewels or small treasures.

Motyl will exhibit some of the largest pots she has made in her 12-year career, including several large garden vessels in bright colors inspired by the tropical flowers of her parents’ home in Florida. Due to the size she is working in, her process involves extensive planning. Because the pots are made in sections and then stacked, she must make several sketches in various scales in order to track the progress of each piece and ensure that once the individual sections are made, they can be stacked seamlessly to create one single silhouette. Once her plan is set, the demanding physical work of centering and throwing the large blocks of clay begins.

“Making large work is in part artistic creation and in part a sport that requires precision, practice and muscle building,” says Motyl. “To push myself in this way and to accomplish larger and harder forms fills me with pride.”

The Gallery at Plays in Mud Pottery is at 735C Haywood Road in West Asheville. To learn more, visit or call 828.225.4063.

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